Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Gaming the Movies - The 'Hood: Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

So I recently picked up a copy of Groundhoggoth Game's The 'Hood.  I've been having a fun time reading through it.  As I was going through the pages I realized something.  Quite a few of the playbooks remind me of characters from the Guy Ritchie film, Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  So I thought it'd be a fun little exercise to look through the four main characters.  (It's a Guy Ritchie film there's a plethora of people that could be considered main characters.  But I'm just going to stick with the four mooks who get cheated out of their money at a card game and set off the events of the movie).  Then stat them up in the 'Hood.  Alright everyone let's Barf forth some Brittanica.
Our protagonists (I wouldn't dare call them heroes) from the left to the right.  Eddie, Bacon, Soap and Tom.
Eddie (The Borrower) 
Eddie acting as a plant and lookout while Bacon hawks stolen

Name: -1
Hush: +1
Brass: +1
Wise: +0
Straight: +2
Moves of Note: Scrounger
I'll be honest with you, Eddie was the hardest of the four to choose a playbook for.  The whole premise of the film is that he is two-bit crook who can hustle a few quid here or there.  But his main talent lies in cards and gambling with cards.  Yet from what we see in the movie he's not particularly good at his talent.  He's not particularly reliable, hence his Name of minus one.  He can be somewhat discreet, subtle and he's nothing if not bold (he enters a card game with notorious East-End gangster Hatchet Harry and sasses the man upon meeting him) hence his Hush and Brass of plus one.  He's not particularly smart though, he doesn't have a plan outside of climbing into a bottle.  When he loses the card game and honestly isn't aware of the fact that Harry was cheating.  Hence his Wise of plus zero (the lowest I could finagle with this particular playbook).  Otherwise he's pretty much a law-abiding citizen, other than hanging around with some unsavoury types.  I chose to make him a Borrower since  throughout the movie he seems to do nothing but leech off of his friends.  Relying on them to put together most of the hundred thousand pound stake in Hatchet Harry's card game.  He also seems to work primarily with Bacon for a source of income, a very parasitic activity.  When he's not leeching off of them he's leeching off of his father JD the owner of the local pub.  Hence why I chose the move Scrounger to reflect how JD turns his back on Eddie towards the end of the movie.

Bacon giving the best sales pitch I've ever heard to buy stolen
Bacon (The Merchant)
Name: +1
Hush: -1
Brass: +0
Wise: +2
Straight: +1
Moves of Note: Clearance Sale
When I first came up with the idea for this post, I knew Bacon was going to be The Merchant.  The opening scene of the movie has him hawking stolen jewelry on a street corner.  As he says "Handmade in Italy, hand-stolen in Steppney.  It's as long as my arm, I wish it was as long as something else."  (Apparently Jason Statham actually worked as a street vendor before making his debut with this film.  Watching this scene I can believe it).  He obviously has the credibility and the connections to get ahold of stolen merchandise.  Hence the plus one in Name.  He's not particularly subtle about selling his wares and according to the original script he got his nickname after getting arrested a lot when he was younger.  Hence his minus one to Hush.  He also appears to be the most Streetwise of the bunch, giving him a  Wise of plus two.  I went with the Clearance Sale move to reflect his street-hawking with Eddie as a lookout.  He seems more concerned with selling his stock for cash rather than hanging onto it.

Soap (The Drone)
The Knife Incident.

Name: +0
Hush: -1
Brass: +1
Wise: -1
Straight: +2
Moves of Note: Store Room, Office Supplies
Soap gets his name because he likes to keep his hands clean of anything illegal.  He's proud of his legitimate job as a Chef, so he was a natural pick for the Drone playbook.  He doesn't appear to be very well respected among the criminal community so I gave him plus zero Name.  He also isn't very subtle or good at keeping his mouth shut.  Demonstrated when he pulls out a bundle of knives in a Pub when it's decided that the lads are going to rob the neighbours.  By the same token he seems incredibly enthusiastic and determined about the whole thing.  So he gets minus one Hush and plus one Brass to reflect these characteristics.  Also due to the public display of the knives and a big fuck-off machete, as well as his distancing himself from the underworld.  He demonstrates that he's not the most streetwise of people earning him a minus one Wise.  I've gone ahead and given Soap the Store Room and Office Supplies move.  Again related to the incident where he shows up with a bundle of knives.  Now while they don't look like something you'd find in a kitchen knife-block.  It was a better choice for the character than any of the other moves.

Tom in the middle of negotiations with Nick the Greek.
Tom (The Go-Between)
Name: +2
Hush: +1
Brass: +1
Wise: +0
Straight: -1
Moves of Note: Negotiator, Fence
Tom has a lot in common with Bacon in that he sells stolen merchandise.  He's not a street vendor though and he seems to be the character most involved in illegal dealings.  Since when they decide to rob the neighbours he's the one who does the negotiating with Nick the Greek.  In order the sell the weed on to a potential buyer.  So I personally think that that makes him a Go-Between.  As the narrator says he's the entrepreneur of the group.  He's seems incredibly well-respected in the underworld (despite constant jokes about him being fat when he's in fact skinny) earning him a plus two in Name.  While he's also much more discreet than seemingly anyone else in the group.  Earning a plus one to Hush.  He also seems quite bold and determined reflected in how handles himself when Nick tries to give him the run-around.  I went with the lowest Wise there was for the Go-Between Playbook since he hangs onto the incriminating shotguns.  Instead of disposing of them, all because he wants to get back the seven-hundred quid he paid for them.  Again he's the most crooked of the bunch so he has the lowest straight.  I went with Negotiator to reflect how wonderfully he handles Nick trying to screw him over.  "Not when the price is two-hundred pounds and not when you've got Liberia's deficit in your sky-rocket."  Fence is kind of self-explanatory since that seems to be his primary job.

So there you have it, the four main protagonists from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.  Statted up with playbooks from the 'Hood.  This was a fun little experiment for me.  I hope you guys enjoyed reading it.  Until next time be sure to +1, comment, follow and reshare.  Box cars all around and have a nice day.    

Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Night Witches: Character Concepts the Return

So a while back I wrote some character concepts for Night Witches.  You can find those here.  Essentially they're characters I came up with after an initial glance at the prompts in the Night Witches playbooks.  I've been wanting to write a continuation to that post for quite some time now.  Only now am I finally getting around to it.  So without further ado here they are.  (Now with pictures courtesy of Marc Benson over at the Night Witches Google+ Community).

Sergeant Hanna Ruttmann 
Something like what Hannah looks like.  Perhaps a
little older and more haggard looking after her time
in the gulag.

Sex: Female
Uniform: Threadbare
Body: Cringing
Eyes: Cold
Home Town: Verkhoyansk (Siberia)
Who you write to back home: No one

Hanna is a Sparrow Zealot, a combination of someone devoted to the Soviet state, while trying to run away from their past.  In Hanna's case she is not devoted to the Soviet Army out of any kind of loyalty.  Rather she is loyal because she knows better than anyone what the state can do to those they suspect of treason.  Verkhoyansk was the camp where she and her family were held after the German invasion of the Rodina.  As Volga Germans they were taken from their village outside of Saratov and their possessions confiscated.  Hanna was eventually released from the gulag at Verkhoyansk, due to a need for trained pilots (she had received training in an agricultural club) and for her cooperation with the NKVD, while in the camp.  It has turned into a deal with the devil as the Politruks now expect her further cooperation on threat of being sent back.  A fate she is determined to avoid, she'd prefer going to hell for suicide over returning to Verkhoyansk.  I see Hanna more as a replacement character rather than being an initial member of the regiment.

Sergeant Maryam Bakradze
Maryam, the photo might be a candid shot of her in the
middle of a joke.

Sex: Female
Uniform: Tattered
Body: Wiry
Hands: Calloused
Home Town: Krasnodar
Who you write to back home: Your sister Sonya

Maryam is a pigeon a bird that is vaguely ridiculous and most comfortable in a crowd.  Essentially she's a the class clown.  Always cracking jokes at both her own expense, the expense of others and the expense of the brass.  She's also kind of wild and tends to do things that are sort of ill-advised.  Sort of like how a pigeon will fly into a window, she'll fly a little dangerously.  As such I can see her alternating between the two roles of Adventurer and Misanthrope.  Also unlike a lot of characters there's an opportunity to meet her family.  Since her hometown of Krasnodar is near one of the Regiment's duty stations.  There's an opportunity to really show the hardship of war by having something happen to her family during the fighting around Krasnodar.  This character is somewhat inspired by Sergeant William "Gonorrhea" Guarnere from Band of Brothers.

What Vera probably wants to look like by the end
of the war against the Hitlerite bandits.
Junior Lieutenant Vera "just Vera, thanks" Gromova
Sex: Female
Uniform: Full dress
Body: Aristocratic
Face: Handsome
Home Town: Suzdal
Who you write to back home: Mother and father

Vera is a Raven, a carrion bird that feeds off of corpses.  Which reflects her leadership style to a tee.  She is not afraid to throw a superior officer or a comrade under the bus if it advances her career.  If sacrificing the lives of her airwomen means a successful mission.  You can bet that she'll sacrifice them without a second thought.  If other officers are fathers to their men, then she is a deadbeat.  I imagine her bouncing back and forth between Zealot and Leader.  Zealot if she is not in control and Leader since she advances if one of her section dies under her command.  Reflecting her leadership style.  She is largely inspired by David Schwimmer's portrayal of Herbert Sobel in Band of Brothers.

So there you have it three more natural-born Soviet Airwomen.  Feel free to just read for entertainment purposes or use them in your own game if you feel a little uncreative when creating characters.  Be sure to +1, comment, reshare, and follow.  As always have a nice day and may the dice be ever in your favour. 

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Campaign Pitch - The Houses of Blackport

With it being October and all I felt the need to write a post in keeping with the Halloween spirit.  I decided I wanted to put together a pitch that embodied a lot of themes of Gothic Horror.  I was inspired by such things as Frankenstein, Dracula, Wuthering Heights, Blades in the Dark and of course Ravenloft.  The result was the City-state of Blackport, a misty-streeted city ruled by necromancers, devil-worshippers, alchemists and gods know what else.  Imagine a Victorian era London where Queen Victoria was an undying lich.  With more interest in her necromantic experiments than ruling her empire.  Leaving it in the hands of a parliament of backstabbing, double-dealing warlock families.  That vie for supremacy both in the richly appointed halls of government and the mist-filled streets of the city.
What I imagine the streets of Blackport look in the
permanent night.
Things I want to see in this campaign?
  • A Royal Palace guarded by an elite corps of skeletal guardsman, reanimated by the undying Lich Queen herself. 
  • Gangs of New York style thieves' guilds battling each other in the city streets.  Armed with clubs, knives, revolvers and sword canes.
  • Nobleman necromancers buying cadavers off of said thieves' guilds for use in their experiments.  
  • Vampire Jack-the-Ripper style serial killers stalking prostitutes in Blackport's version of White Chapel.  
  • University students bored with their studies, playing god and creating flesh golems to serve them until such as time as they tire from such distractions.
  • Masquerade parties among the townhouse estates of the magocrats of the city.  That usually end with a rival's assassination, kidnapping or an unspeakable ritual. 
  • Universities where aspiring necromancers and devil-summoners, rub shoulders with future magistrates and barristers.  
So there you have it a pitch for my Gothic Horror Campaign.  I don't know what system I would use, but a few come to mind.  Let me know what you think in the comments below.  Be sure to +1, reshare and follow.  As always may the dice be ever in your favour.  Until next time.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Gaming the Gunfighters - Aces and Eights Stats for Clay Allison

So I recently binge-read the actual-play reports of the Wild West campaign over at RPGPundit.  The first post of which you can find here.  Overall they're pretty exciting.  The game uses the Aces and Eights system by Kenzerco, only without the Alternate History setting that comes with that particular game.  So the characters in the actual plays often end up running into real-life historical figures.  Chief among them being Wyatt Earp, his brother Morgan, Bat Masterson and John Henry "Doc" Holliday.  The writer of these actual-plays does a great job of having the characters brush shoulders with these Wild West legends but not be overshadowed by them.  Which I personally find to be pretty damn cool.  While I was the reading the posts however, I began thinking about how much of a pain it must of been to stat these guys up.  Which inspired me to try out a little experiment where I tried to stat up a famous gunslinger using the Aces and Eights system.  The character below was the end result.  I borrowed the format for the stats and such from this site by Shane Ivey.

Clay Allison (Circa December 1878) 

Clay Allison was a notorious gunfighter, rancher and vigilante.  Who operated in Texas, New Mexico, Colorado and Kansas from 1866 to 1887 when he died, his neck crushed by his own wagon.
A photograph of Allison while he was recuperating after
 shooting himself in the foot. The injury was the result of a confrontation
 between Allison, his friend Davy Crockett (a nephew of the famous
American frontiersman) and Buffalo Soldiers from Fort Union.
Which resulted after the troops caught Allison and
Crockett trying to steal mules from the fort's corral.

Current Occupation: Cattle Broker

Past Occupations: Cowboy, Farmer, Rancher, Scout, Soldier, Spy

Famous Deeds and Misdeeds: Convicted of spying for the Confederate Army during the civil.  Escaping from the jail where he was held and killing one of his guards in the process.  Shooting a Union Corporal who came to confiscate his family farm in Tennessee.  Killing his neighbour Johnson in a knife-fight over water-rights while in Texas.  Leading a posse to apprehend mountain man and way-station owner Charles Kennedy for murdering and robbing travellers at his way-station.  Leading a mob that broke into the Elizabethtown jail and subsequently lynched Kennedy.  Decapitating Kennedy's body, placing it in a sack and riding 29 miles to the Lambert's Inn, placing the head on stake.  Stealing a dozen Army mules from Fort Union.  Attempting the same ploy, which resulted in a shoot-out with the Buffalo Soldiers at the fort.  During which he managed to shoot himself in the foot.  Killing Texan gunfighter Chunk Colbert at the Clifton House in a gunfight, after sitting down to dinner with Colbert.  Leading the Colfax County Ring against the Santa Fe backed Grant-Men during the Colfax County War.  Leading a mob that lynched Constable Cruz Vega, in response for the murder of Reverend Franklin J. Tolby, despite Vega's protests that his uncle Francisco Griego had ordered the murder.  Killed Francisco "Pancho" Griego in a gunfight at Lambert's Inn, when Griego tried to avenge his nephew's death.  Accused of killing Manuel Cardenas after Cardenas retracted his testimony implicating Dr. Longwell and Melvin W. Mills in the murder of Reverend Tolby.  Being acquitted of the murder of Charles Cooper a friend of Chunk Colbert's who was last seen in Allison's company.  Killing Marshal Charles Faber in a gunfight after the Marshal severely wounded Clay's brother John Allison.

Vitals: Age 37 in 1878, right-handed, 6' tall, 176 lbs.

Family: The second of 6 children born to a Tennessee Presbyterian Preacher and part-time farmer.  Father is dead.  Clay is very close to his youngest brother John, close with his younger brother Jeremiah and his younger sister Ann Mary.  While he is neutral with his older brother Jesse and youngest sister Emily.

Abilities: Str 14/34, Int 9/69, Wis 10/11, Dex 16/52, Con 13/43, Lks 14/91, Cha 14/81

Other Statistics: Hit Points 25, Speed +0, Accuracy +2, Reputation -137, Fame 45 (minimum possible 13), BPs 0

Reputation and Fame Effects: 

  • +1 bonus to all die rolls.
  • 10% on any BPs earned.
  • Two mulligans per session that can be used to re-roll any roll.
  • 10% chance per week that a notorious foe starts boasting about his ability to whip Allison in gunfight.  If the boasts reach Allison's ears and he backs down he loses 20% of his reputation points. 

Past Injuries: Shot himself in the foot while trying to rustle mules from Fort Union.

Foes Killed: 

  • A Union soldier in Gainesville
  • A Union soldier in Waynesboro
  • His neighbour Johnson in Texas
  • Chunk Colbert at the Clifton House stage stop
  • Francisco "Pancho" Griego at the Lambert Inn in Cimmaron
  • Marshal Charles Faber in Las Animas

Skills: Administration 73%, Accounting 99%, Agriculture 78%, Animal Herding (Cattle) 70%, Carpentry 49%, Mathematics 85%, Reading Comprehension/Penmanship (English) 85%, Recruiting 58%, Religion (Presbyterian) 83%, Riding 72%, Rope Use 73%, Salesmanship 66%, Tracking 49% 

Talents: Courage, Greased Lightning (Pistol), Grit, Tough as Nails, Veteran Gunfighter (3)

Quirks and Flaws: Badman, Hothead, Lynch Lawman, Missing Limb (Clubfoot), Prejudiced Against (Yankees), Racist

Weapons: Two Colt Single Action Army revolvers (signature weapons): Draw speed 5, accuracy +1, damage 1d6+1, reload speed 10/cylinder

Remington Shotgun (own weapon): Draw speed 16, accuracy +1, damage d4 per pellet, reload speed 25 first/30 both

Two Bowie Knives (own weapons): Ready count 1, attack count 4, recover count 2, damage 1d4


Overall I think he turned out rather well.  I managed to find a rough approximation of his ability scores from the Deadlands Classic book Lawdogs.  Which I then converted over to the classic d20 stats that Aces and Eights uses.  The stats represented here reflect right around the time of his alleged near confrontation with Wyatt Earp in December of 1878.  I used the Missing Limb flaw since I couldn't find a flaw for a Clubfoot in the Aces and Eights book.  (Maybe Kenzerco will add one when they bring out the new edition).  I also chose quirks that reflected his personality based on accounts of the events in his life and his reputation.  Badman because of reports of his and his men's activities in the town of Cimarron.  Which included a number of cruel jokes such a making people "dance" (read: shoot around their feet) in the streets.  Hothead because he reportedly was easy to set off.  One story suggests that he beat up a ferryman named Zachary Colbert (an uncle of Chunk Colbert a man that Allison later killed), because the ferryman overcharged Allison and his family to ferry them across the Brazos river.  Lynch Lawman to reflect his tendencies to lead lynch mobs against perceived wrongdoers.  The Prejudiced Against Yankees to reflect his seemingly constant conflict with northerners after his service in the Confederate army.  Racist reflects Allison's actions as a member of the Waynesboro chapter of the KKK and his tendency to get into fights with Hispanics and Freedmen.  Anyway that's about it for me.  If you liked this post be sure to +1, comment and reshare.  As always have a good day and may the dice be ever in your favour.